We started seeing quarterbacks come off the board on Monday, with possible Bears targets Jameis Winston (Saints) and Ryan Fitzpatrick (Washington) committing to deals with teams not in Chicago. And for Bears fans thirsting for quarterback change, I imagine either (or both) signing elsewhere was unsettling. To be clear, these transactions shouldn’t put people in a frenzy. Because neither QB — while intriguing in their own unique way — fits the profile of a big swing the Bears have long hinted they would take this offseason.
In other words, losing out on Winston and Fitzpatrick shouldn’t change the Bears’ plans at the position.
I present that perspective knowing that seeing the next name on the pecking order might fill fans with more QB-related angst:
— Brad Biggs (@BradBiggs) March 16, 2021
Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune hears that Andy Dalton could be Chicago-bound. And I suppose that makes sense now that Fitzpatrick and Winston are going elsewhere.
For what it’s worth, this isn’t the Bears’ first rodeo on with Dalton at the rumor mill.
Chicago was reportedly “very close” to trading for Dalton last offseason. The Bears didn’t meet the Bengals’ price, so they moved onto Nick Foles. And because Cincinnati couldn’t find a taker who would overpay for Dalton, they cut him that spring. More recently, Dalton appeared alongside Fitzpatrick as rumored Bears targets, with the caveat that they would be alternatives should the team fail in its pursuits elsewhere. Dalton has a history with Bears Offensive Coordinator Bill Lazor, who was his play caller for some time in Cincinnati.
Let’s get to the most important part of this, though: no, I don’t think Dalton necessarily closes any doors if this were to happen.
There will be some who get hung up with Dalton as a possibility because they are are familiar with his work in Cincinnati, and because he might represent only a modest upgrade – if at all – over Nick Foles or Mitch Trubisky. But that’s not how I see this thing. I see the Bears’ interest in Dalton as being similar to their interest in Fitzpatrick and Winston, because ultimately, I think we’re discussing quarterbacks who are essentially cut from the same cloth. Dalton, Fitzpatrick, and Winston are intriguing camp-battle types whose signings shouldn’t preclude the Bears from making a bigger move should it present itself, whether that’s a trade for Russell Wilson or Deshaun Watson, or a move up in the draft for a top QB prospect. Dalton is a back-up plan, available right now among the dwindling options after one day of “legal tampering.”
Nevertheless, we’ll keep tabs on the market as it develops. Dalton might have other options that have clearer paths to a starting role. Or perhaps he might prefer a backup gig for an established starter on a team in its Super Bowl window. In the end, we’ll put Dalton’s name on the watch list and see what follows.